Americana | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

The ACL Guide to Thanksgiving Wines.

Nov 27th, 2013 | Categories: Al James, Americana, Wine | by Al James


Arriving to Thanksgiving dinner with a well-chosen bottle of wine is simply the right thing to do. It’s doesn’t have to be pricey or geeky, just take a little extra time to pick out a bottle that will work well with the food. No matter who’s cooking, the staples that make up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, etc – all land on the salty end of the flavor spectrum. Even when piled high on a plate, they don’t have the wherewithal to stand up to a big red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Barolo, Chianti, Shiraz) which all contain significant tannins and high alcohol levels. In this case, bigger is not always better. What the savory flavors need, particularly in the case of turkey, is acidity and crispness to balance out the saltiness and brininess. Luckily there are lots of ways to achieve this balance with both New World and Old World wines that are widely available. I like the way food and wine blogger BrooklynGuy  approaches his wine picks for the holiday, “Keep it refreshing and lively, try to keep the alcohol to a minimum.” His logic being that family gatherings can already be teetering on the edge, no reason to pour gasoline on the fire.

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Norman Rockwell’s Folk Hero of World War Two.

Nov 5th, 2013 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher


He’s one of the most recognizable GI’s of all time, and he never even saw active duty. Conceived by Norman Rockwell in 1941, as a recurring character during Rockwell’s turn as cover artist for The Saturday Evening Post, Willie Gillis Jr.’s story spanned eleven covers (with one rejected cover depicting Gillis nearing actual combat) and five years. Gillis was the everyman soldier, a fresh faced boy that gave Americans near and far hope throughout World War II. Rockwell painted Gillis’ tale from enlistment to college, showing both Gillis and his not one, but two girlfriends, as they made their way through the war.

The Great American Pie Eating Contest.

Jul 7th, 2013 | Categories: Americana | by Michael Williams


The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is the fan favorite, but the great American pie eating contest is the one that resonates most with me. Over the past year or so I’ve seen a few different vintage pie eating contest photos pop up from time to time and it wasn’t until now, with summertime in full swing, did it seem appropriate to highlight this amazing American tradition.

Pie Eating contests are a time-honored tradition and these old photos tell the story perfectly. You can’t help but to notice the white tee shirts, worn in denim, buzz cuts and canvas sneakers. I also can’t help thinking about the poor Ladies Auxiliary and the Benevolent Order of Antelopes in Stand By Me’s barf-o-rama. Good on Joey Chestnut for being a machine, but competitive eating contests are never going to be better than it was in the golden pie eating contest days way back when.


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Summering at RRL.

Jun 29th, 2013 | Categories: Americana | by Michael Williams

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An oldie, but a goodie. Every summer, Ralph Lauren sets up a fully kitted-out tepee on his RRL ranch in Ridgeway, Colorado. It’s not something you see everyday, and I don’t think many folks out west would ever attempt anything like this.

The tepee is done up top to bottom in RL style, complete with leather club chairs, rugs and even an antique chandelier. That Selvedge Yard fella has blogged it way back in 2009 (at the dawn of the internet) and Oprah even paid the tepee a visit when she went interview Ralph at his 17,000 acre RRL ranch, but it’s still worth looking at yet again. Colorado in the summer is a pretty magical place in its own right, but I couldn’t imagine a more interesting place to spend a weekend. Wonder if Ralph is receiving guests? My guess is no…


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At Work With Aaron Draplin.

Jun 26th, 2013 | Categories: American Badass, Americana, At Work, OR | by Michael Williams



This meeting was a long time coming. I was in Portland, Oregon a few months back, but I didn’t have a chance to go and meet Aaron Draplin. I’m back this week and I couldn’t make the same mistake twice.

I had a lot of work to do (as I’m sure he did too), but I manage to sneak over to see Draplin today and finally get to meet the man I have admired for so long. Interestingly enough the designer and Field Notes creator is exactly the same in person as I imagined him to be. Friendly, animated, generous, smart, funny and full of life. Draplin is EXACTLY the type of person that ACL was designed to highlight. If you aren’t up to speed on him,. here’s a bit more about him from the ACL archives. I could basically shut this place down after this post, but I won’t.

Georgia on my Mind.

May 4th, 2013 | Categories: Americana, History | by Michael Williams


The Boston Public Library has a massive and impressive digital photo archive, which is open for all to enjoy via Flickr. The collection has yielded other interesting ACL posts in the past, and an image search recently led to this collection of old Georgia post cards from roughly 1930-1945.

I’ve spent the past few days in Southeast Georgia (Jekyll, St. Simons & Sea Island) and it got me looking around for old pictures and along came these nearly 600 great old postcards from all over the state of Georgia. Nice stuff here from the BPL as usual.




Yellowstone and the Adventures of the American West.

Apr 13th, 2013 | Categories: Americana, History, Photography | by Michael Williams


The U.S. Geological Survey has a nice collection of photos from the national parks of the American West, including a bunch of images from the various surveys of Yellowstone National Park from late 1800s that eventually led to the land being protected forever by the government. These early black and white photographs capture the beautiful natural landscape of an area that has gone on to become one of the most celebrated and a widely visited places in America.